Two prisoners stared out the prison bars, one saw mud, the other saw stars. Attitude is everything! Dale Carnegie
Research suggests psychological well-being AND having a sense of purpose can benefit our health in a number of ways.
So much so that the POWER of the MIND...ATTITUDE...and CONSCIENTIOUSNESS can impact:
Having a positive attitude, sense of purpose and staying productive has also been shown to promote longevity. The Longevity Project, a Stanford study spanning 80 years concluded the level of conscientiousness, specifically, was identified as a distinct indicator (AKA "marker") that can be traced for longevity. The reason, the researchers believe, is conscientious behavior influences other behaviors.
Note definition of conscientious - wishing to do what is right, especially to do one's work or duty well and thoroughly.
What is Purpose?
The study defined purpose in life as “the tendency to derive meaning from life’s experiences and possess a sense of intentionality and goal directness that guides behavior.” (For more on Purpose SEE: Questions to Uncover YOUR Calling / Purpose / Why...)
What Makes Conscientious People Different?
It appears WHAT / WHY makes the conscientious different is NOT that complex! It boils down to choices! The conscientious:
Hard Work Will Not Kill Us After All!
The Longevity Project also dismissed the idea that hard work will kill us early. On the contrary, those who stay productive and work hard all our lives actually tend to be happier, healthier, and more social compared to those who don't work as hard.
Don't Worry! Be Happy or Purposeful?
Positive attitudes have been shown to contribute to:
Having a sense of purpose in life is a key component of psychological well-being, and involves finding meaning in what you do and who you are, and leading a goal-directed life. According to the study above: "Older people with a greater sense of purpose are less likely to develop adverse health outcomes, including mortality, decline in physical function, frailty, disability, Alzheimer's disease (AD), and clinical stroke."
Alter Your Genes? Yup!
It's even been scientifically shown that psychological well-being can alter your genes. A team of researchers at UCLA showed that people with a deep sense of contentment and well-being had lower levels of "inflammatory gene expression" and stronger "antiviral and antibody responses" to include changing the way our genes function by altering environmental factor - which includes our thoughts and emotions. (Study: A Functional Genomic Perspective on Human Well-Being - 2013)
Is there REALLY a way to rewire our brain for health and happiness?
Forbes magazine (How to Change Your Brain for the Better) recently listed a number of strategies recommended by Richard Davidson, Ph.D., co-author of The Emotional Life of Your Brain, to rewire the neural pathways in our brain to boost optimism, focus, self-awareness, and other health-boosting attitudes. The strategies include:
Until recently, it was believed our brains could not generate new neural cells once brain cells died or were damaged. It's been proven that our brain can not only generate new cells (neurogenesis), it can also create new neural pathways. The ability of our brain to change and adapt in response to experience is known as neuroplasticity.
So, it would appear we have far more control over our brain and mind than we think. Davidson suggested we can rewire our brain to become more optimistic—and that alone could create a beneficial feedback loop that promotes health in the rest of our body. We can think of these neurological changes as our brain's way of tuning itself to meet our needs. One example of this is when we're learning a new skill.
The more we focus and practice, the better we become. This is a result of new neural pathways that form in response to our learning efforts. At the same time, our brain is undergoing what's called "synaptic pruning" — elimination of the pathways we no longer need.
If this topic absolutely interests you, here's a GREAT read...!
Here's more evidence to support we ALL will be well-served to practice a Mindset...ON Purpose!
The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain : the Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind - Barbara Strauch
In her masterfully researched book, New York Times science editor and science writer Barbara Strauch explores the findings that demonstrate the middle-aged brain is more flexible and more capable than previously thought. By detailing exactly the normal, healthy brain functions over time, Strauch also explains how its optimal processes can be maintained. Overall, Strauch provides a welcome dose of optimism to every aging baby boomer. (Many of which have been outlined above and below!)
So, What POSITIVELY Influences the Brain?
The takeaway message here is we have a great deal of control over our mind, brain health, and life expectancy, based on the choices we make. Choices DRIVEN BY OUR MINDSET! Enjoy the ride!
Other "On Purpose" Blogs!
My best to your quest!
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted relationships where individuals, teams and leaders NAME, CLAIM and AIM their gifts to achieve optimum performance.
Interested to Learn About Yourself or Your Team? Mark is a Certified CliftonStrengths Coach and TotalSDI Facilitator and happy to discuss your situation / team.
About Mark Myette
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted
Based out Roam - Buckhead - 3365 Piedmont Rd NE, Suite 1400 (2nd Floor), Atlanta, GA 30305
Can meet at other Roam locations if appropriate: Alpharetta; Dunwoody; or Galleria